Tuesday, June 10, 2003

Bona fide

The State Website is finally up. Now we just have to find some actual *content*. I've been playing more of Unreal 2 at the weekend, and got about 3/4 of the way through it, so bashed out a review to test out the site, slightly modified from my Blog entry about it a few weeks back.

My opinion of the game hasn't really improved any - it's still as vacuously pretty as before, and even with practically all the weapons now in my possession, the combat is lumberingly slow, and is mind-numbingly lightweight. There's practically no variety of enemies within levels, you have one set enemy, be it Izarians and Skaarj, or Angels or Ghost Mercs, and that's it for the whole level, more and more of the same, and in the case of the mercs, only the weapons they carry alter the challenge. It really is pretty poor stuff, and the level design lacks imagination. If I buy a game for a single player campaign, I don't want to be tied to a single location for five or ten minutes defending a scientist or landing zone, in what is essentially a badly disguised CTF or Domination level. If I want to play that kind of thing, I'll boot up UT2003 and have a botmatch, as it does it far better.

The loading times are still doing my nut in, too. I could make a three course meal, invite friends over to eat it, and then all go out for drinks and kebabs afterwards in the time some of the levels take to load. It's absolutely immersion smashing, and kills any involvement you have in the game, particularly when it's almost getting to the point of spending more time looking at a loading screen than playing the game. If I ever see the words "LOADING" "INITIALIZING" and "STAND BY" again, I'll scream.

Unreal 2 isn't *bad*, but it's not great either, warranting only a solid "meh". No amount of shiny graphics or Aida's finely sculpted body can make up for substandard level design or play mechanics. I'll probably get around to finishing it at some point, if only because I've spent so much bloody time looking at loading screens I want to see the final payoff, which apparently is the single most innovative thing about the game.

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